Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Long Sunday Picture Post

You've been warned!  Lotsa pictures! 

First off, I want to welcome back Sprout N Wings farm to our featured blog list... Michaele and her girls were not only kind enough to give us Kody and Kaycee, but her blog is one of the best I've ever read over the last 3 years. 

I also added Melinda and Ken from Country Dreaming.  These nice folks are neighbors of ours (as the crow flies) and live in Lenexa, about 20 miles from us.  Melinda is a special ed teacher, and she always has lots of good craft ideas on her blog.  A nice lady, too! 

I also want to thank Phyllis and Winona, who commented about the goats eating chicken feed.  Thanks very much, ladies, and we're going to work on a solution to keep the goats OUT of the chicken yard.  They can have the run of the pasture, but need to stay away from where they can get hurt. 

To those of you who are reading this from the Southwest (Sandy, and others) ... our hearts and prayers go out to you in the heat... I know you and your animals are suffering in the terrible temperatures, and we hope God brings relief to you soon. 

Sorry this picture is a blur... but the little guys were excited.... Keith made them this lovely sleeping platform on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, and we moved it into their barn last night. 

Of course, both had to jump up immediately to see what it was all about. 

Then... he took the llama feeder we had put in there, took two boards off it, and modified it into another sleeping platform.  We had moved it out of the barn, thinking to store it for a future use, but we are going to move it back in tonight, and let the third goat use it! 

So all three goats can be elevated now. 

Keith is also going to make an elevated platform for their pen, and we'll put shadecloth over it for the summer. 

The goats were following Daddy around like dogs as he went back and forth. 

I have noticed this past week that I was getting less eggs from both henhouses.  We did have a few days intense heat in the middle of the week... but last week I had eleven dozen eggs, and this week, only 8 and some spares. 

I was thinking about this when I took these pictures on Thursday morning.

White paint on the side of the big henhouse, you ask? 

No.... I believe owl scat.  As soon as I saw them next to the pophole when I opened up on Thursday, in my mind I said "UH oh".  

So, yesterday afternoon I was cutting in the pasture.  Here I should stop and tell you that I allow parts of the pasture to grow up each summer to provide cover for small animals.  We used to see quail here when we first moved here, and we can always hope, because we saw some two years ago.  Anyway, I digress. 

Part of the pasture looks like this: 

See the high grass in back of and to the right behind Ranger?  Those are patches still growing very high.  
I have been chipping away at them, little by little.  
Since my John Deere is just a medium machine, I have to cut across the row slowly... taking care not to stall out... and then go over the same row a second time to cut it clear down.  I mentioned that I would love to have the Spehars cows in... but another solution would be for a friend to bring over a few of her minis for the rest of the summer.  I would need only water daily, which would be no burden. 

I'm digressing again. 
Keith made the comment last week that he thought something was laying in the grass under the trees down on the south end. 

I told him I thought it was Lilly going through in the morning on her patrol. 

I'm missing a red bird.  This was under one of the trees. 

I cut a little bit more, and found THIS

At that point, I went up to the henhouse and did a head count.  I had one older black bird, and one younger (1 year old 2012 hatch) black production hen, and the 1 year old was missing.  
The red hen was one of the older ones... and I suspect, one that has been a little crippled up and was no longer laying, as I could not find her last night.  I had wondered what happened to her. 

Keith and I decided last night it was probably a fox... but... this morning as we lay in bed talking... he said suddenly
"I bet it was an owl!"

I thought back to the stains and said 
"Me, too!"  

Owls can strike during the day... and last summer we lost several birds to an owl. 

These birds both could have been carried off by a big owl, and we suspect now that it had plenty of cover under the trees. 

You can get an idea of the height of the grass I was going through slowly from this picture, and it's here, under this tree... that I found both remains. 

That's a branch down, but still alive. 

See the panel with the wood braces on it?  It is affixed to the fence, but used to be removable.  After a critter (a coyote?) dug in one night and got a hen that had been left out accidentally... Keith screwed the panel to the fence proper, and we began opening the gate.  

I am going to ask him to take it back off, put a piece of plywood there, and make a pophole. Then, the ducks and chickens can go in and out at will, and the goats, who are getting big, will not be able to go in.  The door, which is all cattywhampus because the fence is now leaning, can be closed and I won't have to struggle with it daily.  This fence was Keith's very first project here, and we know that it needs re-building.  

Three of the very happy ducks, out on grass, where they belong! 

I bit the bullet yesterday and joined Bloglovin'... thanks to Donna at Our Forest Haven and her kind instructions.  Donna thinks (and I do, too) that our Friend Connect on our blogs may possibly go away... so I want to be sure I can still follow those blogs I read regularly. 
I also figured out how to post my posts on my Facebook page, which I am enjoying more and more now that I am home daily. 

I also am reading but not posting to "Hometalk", which is a little more detailed than Pinterest, and from which I am getting lots of good gardening ideas.  As Keith and I talked this morning (for, thank heavens, I went to church last night and was able to sleep in this morning) we don't need to buy many more garden plants... but divide the ones we have, and how true that is.  We do have a few enhancements we would like to make, though, and I have time to do them, with Keith's help. 

I'm off to the back of the tractor now, as I am still working on the pasture.  
I hope everyone has a grand Sunday! 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Some More Random Bits

Some weeks ago, I wrote about this book: 

I received it from a drawing on Ink Dots, written by Dorothy Adamek, and the book itself was from author Rita Gerlach, who writes historical fiction. 

I enjoyed this book very much... it took me a while to get through it because I would read just before falling asleep.  I finally sat down and finished it in one fell swoop.  I enjoy historical fiction greatly, and Rita seems to really know her stuff.  This romance was set in Revolutionary War times, in the US and in England.  

Rita has written other books, and I am trying to get several on inter library loans.  

I recommend her, and Rita... thanks for the inscribed copy, I so appreciate it! 

One thing that Dorothy does on Ink Dots is to publicize writers... I think she does a great service to us all by doing this.  Thanks, Dorothy! 

As you see, the overgrown north perennial bed marches on.  I am going to be in there this afternoon or tomorrow after church, I hope... cutting out little trees, several of which you can see in this picture.  The pink monarda is blooming, and the white lillies. 

You can see some of the lillies here.  Some are literally buried under sage and monarda. 

The huge buddleia has not started blooming, but one I (butchered) pruned hard has huge panicles on it as of yesterday. 

You can just barely see them here. 

Keith's parents will be stopping by on Tuesday as they pss through the city on their way to Denver, to see Ralph's sister.  I hope to have things tidied up and all the grass in yard and pasture cut by the time they get here, so will be working on this today.  This bed is going to take a mighty effort this fall to remove the huge overgrown plants, and rebed it.  I'll be giving away lots of perennials. 

The Master Gardener's gardens at the farmstead yesterday were very inspiring, and probably my favorite part of our day, besides the wagon ride. 

Herb Garden. 

I want one.  (kidding, honey) 

Rose covered arches... love them! 

I would have to have an army of assistants to do all this. 

Ah, well... we can dream! 

Jax helped me take this picture yesterday... he held the flashlight, brave little boy: 

For the first time in years, we did not even have ONE egg laid in the big henhouse yesterday.  This guy and his friends are the reason, I'm sure.  He's been hiding in this nest box almost all week. 

I had 8 dozen eggs to donate this morning, and a scant ten or so to keep for us to use, almost all bantam eggs.  I do have some duck eggs that are so big they can't fit in cartons.  I use them for cooking and baking. 

I found an intact snake skin on Thursday, and saved it for Jax... he took it home last night.  How I wish my mom could have seen this place... she was afraid of a lot of things in nature, but she loved to hear about them. 

I enrolled in Bloglovin' this morning just to be SURE and hedge my bets about Google reader going away.  I don't think it will bother our blogs any... but I don't trust them.  Thanks to Donna at Our Forest Haven for patiently walking me through the steps! 

Doin' the Bloglovin' Dance

Just to be on the safe side! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Visit to the Farmstead

Jax, Paiton and I had a great time today, visiting the Deanna Rose Farmstead 
in Overland Park, Kansas. 

We got there pretty early, just after it opened at 9 AM. 

We missed the milking demonstration, but we got to see some little calves, which Paiton loved. 

I found this to be very interesing, it was a representation (full-size) of a lodge of the Kanza people, who lived here years ago.  The lodge could allow for about 40 people in it for living. 
Please notice that plants were growing on the lodge roof. 

There was some tractor racing. 

Some pony riding. 

Some fishing. (thank heavens we didn't catch anything) 

Some baby duck watching. 

Some turtle watching

We pretended to be caterpillars and butterflies 

We saw a bald eagle 

And some black swans... 

We went for a hike in the woods (Paiton was scared) 

And Grandma's favorite part... a hayride, on the most comfortable wagon, on a comfortable journey through the woods pulled by two beautiful Belgians...

Frankie and Rowdy

And I nearly forgot... we mined for gold too, and got to bring home all our pretty stones! 

Grandma's exhausted, do I need to say more? 
The kids had a great time, and I'll think twice before I go anywhere with them alone again! 
(laughing here)

I don't know where all the energy comes from. 

They did have about 40 little goats there, some with wattles under their chins... I understand now how people hoard little goats. 

The kids fed them, and liked being in with them, but then were happy to come home to Kody and Kaycee. 
Paiton especially has an affinity for little animals. 
They do for her, too. 

I hope you enjoyed this look at the Deanna Rose Farmstead, and can tolerate my cheering about my grands for once! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Random Bits

Big difference from yesterday... and it actually fell to 83. 

We were told originally today would be hotter... but it did not happen, and for that, we are grateful. 

Keith, however, was very dehydrated.  He ran a fever all day and has only gotten up an hour ago.  He thinks he became over heated and dehydrated yesterday, and did not realize it. 

The bottles and gallon jugs are all back in the freezer for the next hot day. 

 Alabama Surprise (Sunrise????) is now blooming.  Is it gorgeous or WHAT? 

I'll have to move it this fall, or move most of the gigantic yarrow. 

The zinnias are blooming mightily. 

Any goat people reading this:  I have a question. 

These two guys are eating chicken feed.  They don't necessarily eat much goat feed. 
I got Purina Goat Chow... and it turns out it looks and smells JUST like the all-stock feed from our local mill, Valley Feeds in Bonner Springs, Kansas.  They are only picking at it. 

They LOVE desicated dry leaves.  

Whenever they come in the chicken yard with me, they go straight to the feed bowl, and they ARE eating it. 
Are we in trouble here with this?  They don't chomp for an hour, but they do stop and have a few mouthfuls.  
I'm still not having much luck getting them to eat hay. 

Donnie is a very handsome boy!

You can see in this picture that Rambo has lost all his tail feathers now. 
He was last rooster out of the henhouse the last two mornings, but there ARE hens that are following him daily.  It seems that Buddy, the bantam, is really in charge now, though.  I suspect Donald has divested Rambo of his feathers, though. 

Lilly patrols the pasture for me early in the morning.  I let her go down and check everything out before I turn birds or goats loose.  Next year, I'll cut everything so we don't have places for critters to hide in the high grass. 

Someone (who is a pugapillar) was so glad to be able to sleep with Daddy today while he was home in bed. She was in her element! 

If I have not been around to visit your blog in a few days, I'll try to get caught up tonight. 
I have Jax and Paiton tomorrow, so I am battening down the hatches and going to try to get plenty of sleep, because I have trouble keeping up with them!  

We are going to try to go to a famous local farmstead here, where they can ride ponies, etc.etc.... I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Heat

My car, fifteen minutes ago: 

After two miles, it adjusted itself to 103, and stayed there. 

I have a fan running in both henhouses... I turned them off last night to give the motors a break, but turned both on early this morning. 

I did water in the old henhouse yards at 1:30... and am going out again in a few minutes. 

There is enough shade in there that the birds are not too badly off.  
You notice these little guys are hanging out in there too. 
They like chicken feed... so I just ran down to get them Purina Goat Chow.  I was trying to get them to eat an all stock feed, but I realize they really like the pellets. 

I want to encourage them to eat and stop nursing. 

Here is a trick I use for the waterers.  Those are water bottles we have used and refilled and frozen.  I put them in the waterers to make sure the water stays good and cold. 

I had just refilled the waterer with cold water and ice bottles, and the gallon you see on the floor 
is also frozen.  Once the hens realize there is cold air there, they'll get closer to it. 

This poor girl, Folly, will not come down from the rafters or the top of the nest box.  She was really hot, and panting.  I put cold bottles in their waterer, and there is a cold bottle on it's side up on the nest box.  If they stand near it, they will feel the colder air. 

I'm about to go out and put some bottles in the waterers in the big henhouse, but their side is considerably cooler because of the all the trees. 

When the henspa was roofed last fall, the vents were not put in. The roofer told us he would come back and do it, but never has.  We are trying to reach someone now to have the vents put in for relief in this henhouse, that was built very tightly.  I do have the side door propped wide open, to allow air flow through the house. 
I wish this hen in the picture above, a porcelain D'Uccle, would get with the program and come down with the others.  The rooster does, though he is up there today. 

A word of caution about using the frozen water bottles... be sure to clean them off thoroughly before putting them back in your freezer to re-freeze, so you don't introduce bacteria, especially the ones you use on the floors. 


I have cut a little grass today, but summer is really, truly, here! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gardening with Goats and Other Stories

I had some help yesterday in the gardens, for a while. 

My helper was tasting things as I worked. 

The hollyhock had blown down in the winds we have had the last three days.  It's staked now. 
Last night's winds, in fact, caused some other things to fall. 

You can't see it in this picture very well, but a very large branch fell to pieces off the old walnut tree.  
There are lots of pieces in the grass waiting for me to haul them to the burn pit. 
I was very grateful no person or animals was under it when it fell, and yes, we are going to have to do something about the tree. 

This apple tree has spots on the leaves and spots on the apples.  I'm going to read up today to find out what to do, and we suspect it will involve spraying. 

The tomatoes are all looking very well... and baby tomatoes are growing on. 
Every other day I pour duck pool water on them, soaking them in. 

This horrible, horrible stuff is bristly greenbrier.  It will HURT YOU, badly.... there is nothing worse than reaching in to get a bunch of vines or weeds down and getting hold of this... and see, it has deceptive flowers that look like potato flowers!   These were growing in the pea beds on the west side, and yes, I hurt my hand and had a thorn in it all afternoon.  I very, very carefully cut the vines out, and dug up the roots as much as I could to get them out.  

I pulled all the peas out.  I am probably not going to plant peas next year, as we do not eat enough of them to warrant it.  I have enough in the fridge to put in salads for the next two months (sugar snaps). 

I planted two varieties of green beans, though I am a bit late with them... both were from Baker Creek... "Beurre de Roquencourt", a yellow, and good old "Contender", a green. 

In the spinach bed, which Keith had pulled last week when it bolted, I planted two muskmelons... both from Baker Creek... 
One is "Collective Farm Woman" from Russia, and the other, "Kansas".  

I have a small watermelon I'd like to plant, and a squash, "Ronde de Nice" from Baker Creek... but am out of bed space... soooo....

I pulled up some onions.  I planted these onions as tiny little slips... and they have matured into lovely little globes.  Keith and I don't eat a lot of onions, but there were fifty of them in the bunch I bought, and I put them in the old hoop house in the barrels and bins we had tomatoes and herbs last year.  My gosh, they did very well.  We have a supply that will last us into the fall.  
I am going to plant the squash and watermelon in the barrels. 

This, however, is what's going on this morning. 
Yes, we're having a lovely small rainstorm which is nearly over.  It has been very cloudy and raining lightly for the last 45 minutes, but the rain has now stopped.  I won't have to water today, after putting the duck water on the tomatoes. 

The little guys are investigating the new hay I put in the back of their feeder, that they are STILL using as a napping bed during the day.  They now have the run of the pasture when I am home, but I keep an eye on them, going out to check on them off and on. 

They are getting less than half the milk as before as I try to get them weaned before Kelly comes, in another week.  Carol will have fully weaned him at that point. 

I am giving them a full 8 ounces each in the morning, but then only a few ounces at about 1 PM, and then a few at night before locking them up.  At about 2 PM yesterday I realized they were SCREAMING at me frantically, and realized they were very hungry, and I did give them a few ounces... but really, it's time for them to start eating like big boys. 

And of course, they are like me... we are all still burying our heads in the mulberry trees. 

We are expecting scorching heat the rest of the week, and triple digit heat indices. 
Today is a nice respite, and I have windows open. The skies are already clearing though, so I'll do an errand and then come home and work a little more in the garden.  I have to admit my back is a little sore and worn out today. 

I wanted to address something today because of something that happened on a blog yesterday.  I want to make it clear to everyone that I write about the things that I, or Keith and I, do here daily, as a journal of our lives, but also, to share with you our gardening practices and what fun it is to keep the animals... and sometimes, not so fun. 
I want you to know that you are free to criticize or have a different opinion about how things are done... and be free to voice it at anytime.  We value and learn from criticism, and we know full well that our way is not the only way.  I will always try to put things on here that are informative, funny, sad, but always true to what is happening.  Our son's death was one of those. 

Please feel free to give opinions... we value them! 

And now, Alica, one last picture...sorry....

This guy has been in this bowl since 3 PM yesterday, and is STILL THERE!

(top of closet in big henhouse-bowl for water for the bantams as in Rooster Two behind him)
(They have the big waterer on the floor and two outside)